About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Philosophy, the basics

Here is another Amazon list in response to requests I've received. It's about where to start if you don't know much about philosophy, even if you are a kid.


  1. Yay, that's more like it! :-)

    I'm definitely far from the level of reading the classics yet, so a "complete idiot's" approach is much more what I need. Thanks.

  2. I'd have Julian Baggini's The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten on my list.

    I found that to be engaging and to do an excellent job of showing how philosophical thinking can translate into everyday issues.

  3. Hello, Dr. Pigliucci:
    I just found your blog and wanted to say hello. You may not remember, but I took a couple of philosophy courses with you at UT (Dr. Cohen, I believe, and Dr. Aquila). Glad to see you are doing well.
    Michael Livingston

  4. Great list ... and I've already read two! I've always intended to read Aristotle and Hume, but never summoned up the energy at the vital moments.

    IMHO, one the most readable of philosophy books not on the list is Karl Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies". Maybe it would make your second ten!

  5. Re: the Evolution list.

    Feel good about this. I've read Steve Jones and Gould. Also, a different book by Mayr. Must get some of the rest.

    For some reason, Jones' book is called "Almost Like a Whale" on this side of the Atlantic. Its on my shelf.

  6. Hej!

    A little bit off-topic (although it is philosophy related):

    Mr. Pigliucci, have you written anything about Alvin Plantingas EAAN-argument?

    best wishes,
    Johan (Sweden)

  7. Johan,

    no, I have not explicitly written on Plantinga, though you will find comments here and there on this blog that make it clear that I do not have a particularly high opinion of him. Perhaps one day I'll actually tackle him head on...


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